Cebu City, Philippines

While Manila takes all the hype when it comes to being the “center” of the Philippines, this southern gem still shines brightly at its heels. Meet Cebu city - the Queen City of the South!

Cebu stakes its place in history as the county’s very first city, and the very first Spanish settlement. For the religious, Cebu is the fountainhead of Christianity in the Far East.

Aside from its economic and historical significance, Cebu is well-renowned for its amazing tourist attractions. The Spanish imprint on the city’s history is unmistakeable. Wander through famed Magellan’s Cross and the ancient Basilica del Santo Niño. Founded way back in 1565, it is considered the oldest church in the country. Feel history surge through your veins as you trek through the Heritage of Cebu Monument, located in the original site of Plaza Parain. Even for those uninterested in history, the sheer magnificence of this artwork is a sight to behold.

For the walkaholic and shopaholic, trek through the upscale shops and modern buildings of Colon Street. It’s hard to believe that this is the oldest street in the country. Hip shops that carry anything and everything can be found here.

For the foodie, try the famous Sutukil near the equally renowned Mactan Shrine. Sutukil is a portmanteau of the words “sugba” (grill), “tula” (stew), and “kil” (kilaw). The food here is to die for. Add to that the famous delicacies of the place, such as otap and turones, and you have the perfect treat for the palate and the tummy. Don’t forget to drop by the Larsian barbecue station, too —it’s good food with good people all around you. What could be better?

For the active and the nature lover, try the pristine Kawasan falls. Bathe or raft in its crystal clear waters, or sit by the side while sipping some fresh buko juice. Then there’s the Badian beach and the Basdaku white beach where you can enjoy some sand and sun — and forget that you’re in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the country.

Like any great tourist destination, Cebu has something for everyone. It is a dynamic metropolitan area and a serene natural haven. It is both for the active and for the reflective. All you need is a backpack of your basic necessities and a heart for adventure. Who knows where the Queen City of the South will take you?

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